Designing a Collective Prototype of Future Tropical and Subtropical Science

Image credit: Tanya Strydom


The practice of science, although inserted in a common system, is experienced in very different ways by scientists depending on their social, economical and political contexts - among a myriad of other factors. Being a scientist from a tropical or subtropical country is a unique experience, with its own challenges and opportunities, but it is often normalised that a successful scientific career can not be pursued in our home countries. As a hyper-diverse region, it is important to acknowledge the equally diverse stories behind each scientist so we can understand the history and redesign the future of an inclusive global science. In this session we aim to promote a collaborative speculation experiment to prototype the future of the next generation of tropical scientists. Inspired by the From the Futures immersive art experiment by Columbia DSL, we will invite attendees to assess stories of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from tropical and subtropical regions, which will be assembled through an online survey before the ATBC meeting. Attendees will work in groups to reflect on challenges and privileges mentioned in the stories, remix them (removing obstacles, adding inclusive policies, enhancing and potentialising the opportunities), and design the next chapter of tropical/subtropical science (reflecting on future challenges and opportunities, and consequences of policies applied in the present). Finally, we will collectively transform these stories about the future into guidelines, and identify what can be done from now on to rewrite the next generation’s story in our home countries. This session aims at providing a safe place for tropical and subtropical ECRs to rewrite their own stories and openly share their hopes for their careers, and therefore attendance is restricted to this group. Secondly, we want to assess the diversity of challenges and opportunities frequently hidden in tropical science, while envisioning a strategy to diminish the challenges and potentialise the opportunities. At the end of the session we will have an outline of clear measures that can be taken to diminish any obstacles and potentialise the opportunities we might have in tropical science, which should be further used as evidence and direction to better support young researchers.

Jul 21, 2021
Tanya Strydom
Tanya Strydom
PhD Candidate

Self-diagnosed theoretical ecologist, code switcher (both spoken and programmatic), artistic alter-ego, and peruser of warm beverages.